Sri Lanka have selected all-rounders Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara in their 15-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan, which begins in Galle on Friday. Angelo Mathews has also replaced Thilan Samaraweera as vice-captain.
Opening batsman Lahiru Thirimanne has missed out, with Tharanga Paranavitana set to replace him at the top of the order.
The hosts are also likely to field an entirely new pace attack, with Dhammika Prasad and Suranga Lakmal, both of whom played for Sri Lanka in their last Test against England, omitted. Chanaka Welegedara returns from injury and will take one of their places, while Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera will battle it out for the other.
Perera last played a Test at the beginning of this year against South Africa at Cape Town, although his inclusion does not come as a surprise, with coach Graham Ford giving him his backing following the 23 year-old’s record-breaking performance in the second One-Day International against Pakistan.
At the time, Ford said, "With the talent he has got and the way he bowled [during 2nd ODI on 9th June], there's no doubt he can be a regular Test player. His work ethic is good and he knows the areas he has to improve on. I am sure, with the many years he has got ahead of him, he will become a very effective Test player.
"He is a still a young man and hits the ball extremely hard. He is working harder on his ball-striking ability. [Here] he showed the best control he has shown with the ball since I have been involved with the team. That's something the bowling coach has worked hard with him upon, and he has got better and better."
Sri Lanka Test squad: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews (vice-captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Prasanna Jayawardene (wicket-keeper), Nuwan Kulasekara, Jeevan Mendis, Tharanga Paranavitana, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Suraj Randiv, Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara, Chanaka Welegedara.
© Cricket World 2012
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